Hawkeye: What’s hidden in plain sight in episode 3

Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' HAWKEYE. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios' HAWKEYE. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /
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Hawkeye, Hawkeye season 1, Hawkeye season 1 episode 3, Maya Lopez
Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez in Marvel Studios’ HAWKEYE. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

Among the Easter Eggs from Hawkeye’s third episode are the changes to Echo’s origin, and how the series adapted a car chase from the original comics.

Three episodes in and the season half-way done, and Hawkeye feels like it just got started. The Tracksuit Mafia are still after Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), mistaking her for Ronin. Kate still suspects her mom’s fiancée, Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton), for the murder of his uncle. Clint is still having to play bodyguard for Kate while trying to get back home for Christmas. But at least Kate finally gave Pizza Dog his name.

It also means finding some more Easter Eggs and Marvel-related callbacks are becoming a little more challenging. Fortunately, with this third episode of the Disney Plus series, the ones that your humble writer has spotted very much take their cues not just from the comics, but actual comic book issues. And to begin our latest exploration into this episode, we start with a character created by David Mack and artist, Marvel’s Creative Director and former Editor-In-Chief, Joe Quesada.

Maya Lopez, a.k.a. Echo

As indicated by the episode title, “Echoes” introduces one Maya Lopez into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet like most adaptations, there are quite a few differences between the character we’re introduced to here and the one from the comics.

The fundamentals are there, of course. Maya is a Native American who was born deaf, but made up for her disability with her highly developed photographic and reflexive memory. This, in turn, puts her capabilities on par with Taskmaster (the real one from the comics, that is, not the one from Black Widow), as she not only learned martial arts and lip reading through mere observation, but also mastered the piano, gymnastics, and ballet. Although actress Alaqua Cox has a prosthetic leg, Maya in the comics does not. Nor is she, much less her father (Zahn McClarnon), ever the leader of the Tracksuit Mafia.

However, there is one very important aspect about Maya’s background that is hinted at during this episode. The person whom she and her father refer to as “Uncle”? That person, in the comics, in none other than the Kingpin of Crime, Wilson Fisk, archenemy of Spider-Man, the Punisher, and especially Daredevil. So when “Uncle” arrives to take Maya home after her karate class, the hand we see come into frame and the chuckle we hear could very well belong to Vincent D’Onofrio, the actor who played Fisk in Netflix’s Daredevil.

This also ties into the major turning point in Maya’s life: the murder of her father. In the comics, Fisk was the one who arranged to have her father killed, and then, years later, framed Daredevil for the murder. Thus, Maya was tricked into trying to kill Daredevil out of revenge. This complicated matters because Maya and Matt Murdock, Daredevil’s true identity, had started falling in love with one another.

Even the manner in which Maya finds her dying father in “Echoes” is drastically different than how she found him in the comics. Instead of being a young woman, Maya was still a little girl when her father died in front of her. Even the bloody handprint he leaves on her face, which the adult Maya would replicate as Echo, is on the wrong part of her face. Instead of placing his hand on the side of face and neck, he placed his hand on the front of her face.

Another major difference, Maya was the first person to adopt the guise of Ronin after she turned away from the Kingpin. In fact, it was Daredevil who recommended her to Captain America as a recruit for the Avengers. Clint would later adopt the identity of Ronin when he returned to the Avengers and after Maya was (temporarily) killed by Elektra.

Hawkeye, however, seems to have jettisoned Maya being the first Ronin entirely, confirming once and for all that Clint is the original Ronin in the MCU. It also seems to suggest that Clint, as Ronin, really did kill her father, too. Then again, it’s still entirely possible that Fisk is behind her father’s death, arranging for someone else to be Ronin as means of framing Clint. Perhaps we’ll learn more in the upcoming Echo spin-off series, which is set to premiere on Disney + sometime in 2022.